Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) poised for a 2008 White House run, sprinted through a series of interviews Wednesday night and Thursday morning in a mini-media blitz to react to President Bush's sending more troops to Iraq. Interesting, in the NBC interview this morning Obama, in response to a question, does not say if he will support Sen. Ted Kennedy's legislation that could force the president's hand on Iraq.
Democrats plan a non-binding resolution that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) said will simply state, "Do you support an escalation in the war in Iraq?" Reid predicted it would pass with at least 60 votes.
"I think that will be the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq," Reid said. He added later the war was the "biggest foreign policy blunder ever."
Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of his meeting with Bush to discuss escalation plan, "I think he has lost some of his bravado."
Obama hit CNN's Larry King, MSNBC, ABC's Nightline, and NBC's the Today Show at the top of the program this morning. Contrast that to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), whose strategy on Bush's Iraq package is to avoid the national media spotlight.
Click below for a selection of quotes from Obama in interview with Meridith Vieira.
OBAMA: Well, look, as somebody who thought that going in was a bad idea in the first place, I have been very measured over the last couple of years precisely because I think we've got a responsibility, both strategic and humanitarian, to make sure that Iraq does not collapse entirely. And there are a series of judgment calls that have to be made.
Nobody's calling for a precipitous withdrawal. What we're saying is that if we can begin a phased withdrawal and give the Iraqi government a sense that we are not engaging in an open-ended commitment, we're not going to babysit a civil war and we're not going to continue to throw American troops at the problem, that they will actually arrive at the sort of political solution that's necessary.
ON SUPPORTING KENNEDY LEGISLATION ON IRAQ
Obama " Well, I think there are a range of options that are going to be proposed. I think the first order of business in the Senate is an up-or-down vote on a nonbinding resolution to see who approves and who doesn't approve of this plan. And I'll note that there were at least four Republicans yesterday who said, in anticipation of the president's proposal, that this was a bad idea. I think that there's a strong feeling in the Democratic caucus that this is a bad idea.
I think this is no longer a Democrat or Republican problem. This is an American problem. We need a nonpartisan solution to the problem, but we also need a president that acknowledges that we have not seen the kinds of political compromise between Shi'a and Sunni on the ground in Iraq that would allow for the stabilization of the country.